HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP: Officials eye two land buys

Money would come from em from Open Space Trust Fund

By John Tredrea, Special Writer
   Two proposed ordinances that, if adopted, would allow Hopewell Township to use money from its Open Space Trust Fund to purchase two large tracts of land and preserve them as open space were introduced by 4-0 votes of the Township Committee Monday night.
   Voting in favor were Mayor Vanessa Sandom, Deputy Mayor Allen Cannon and Committeemen Harvey Lester and Jim Burd. Michael Markulec was absent.
   Both measures are expected to be scheduled for public hearings and adoption vote at the next committee meeting.
   One of the proposed ordinances would, if OK’d, authorize the township to use $1,919,500 of its Open Space Trust Fund monies to purchase the 100-acre Else tract, located off the northbound side of Route 31, just south of its junction with Route 654.
   The other proposed ordinance would, if adopted, authorize using $2,060,000 to purchase another large tract of land that straddles Carter Road, a short distance south of the Mt. Rose neighborhood.
   Another proposed measure introduced by the committee would, if adopted, authorize spending $296,298 for improvements to Hopewell-Wertsville Road. The text of the proposed ordinance states that $249,500 of the total cost is expected to be covered by a grant from the state Department of Transportation (DOT).
   IN OTHER BUSINESS Monday, the committee passed a resolution asking Mercer County for a 25 mph speed limit, on Bear Tavern Road in the area of Bear Tavern Elementary School, of 25 mph from 6:45 a.m.-6:45 p.m., with warning lights flashing for those 12 hours. The resolution also asks for a 25 mph-speed limit outside of those hours for events where parking typically overflows onto the roadway.
   The Committee also voted 3-1, with Jim Burd dissenting, in favor of a resolution authorizing the firm of Crown Castle NJ East to install and maintain cell phone antennas atop utility poles in the public right-of- way.
   In a Tuesday morning email to the HVN, Mr. Burd said “a large number of Brandon Farm members in 2008 strongly opposed and fought the installation of similar antennas on the development’s water tower because of the possibility of the creation of cancer. At that time we, the committee voted on the relocation of the antennas away from that water tower and over by the Twin Pines athletic fields.”
   Mayor Sandom said the committee could not legally prohibit Crown Castle East from putting the antennae on utility poles in the township.
   She said: “Since the Federal Communications Commission and the State BPU (Board of Public Utilities) regulate the health and safety of the telecommunications industry, the township cannot prohibit the placement of small cellular antennae on utility poles for health or other reasons as long as the cellular company has a legitimate agreement with the utility pole owner, and as long as the antennae are placed in accordance with sound engineering practices.
   ”In contrast to this situation, T-Mobile voluntarily moved its antennae from the Brandon Farms water tower across the street to the township’s Twin Pines recreation area cell tower, resulting in $40,000 revenue to the township annually.”